A WORLDWIDE charity founded in Rotherham has won government backing for a new project which aims to support women and their children in Nepal.
PHASE Worldwide, which was started in 2005, has announced that the UK Government will match all donations to its Start Strong appeal.
Rotherham businessman and PHASE chair of trustees Nick Cragg and his wife Marie braved the bad weather over the weekend of May 8-9 to take part in the charity’s annual Walk for Nepal Event, trekking up Blencathra Mountain in the Lake District and helping raise more than £11,000 for the project, which will help 1,000 women and their children.
Mr Cragg, chairman of the Nicholas Associates Group of companies and Rotherham Titans rugby union club, said the walk up the 14th highest mountain in the Lakes — 868 metres — had been testing but enjoyable.
“The walk was difficult because of the extreme weather. We were trekking through snow fields.
“We were on the mountain for around six-and-a-half hours but we both felt really good afterwards. It was exhilarating and raised a lot of money for a great cause,” he said.
Tony Boorman, managing director of Stafforce, part of the Nicholas Associates Group, said: “We have supported PHASE Worldwide since it was founded by Nick and his wife Marie.
“As a business our mission is to enable people to be their best through empowerment, and this appeal aligns directly with our values. By partnering with PHASE Worldwide on this appeal we hope to raise greater awareness of the challenges women and children face in Nepal and to support them in raising vital funds.”
Nepal is described as one of the most challenging environments in which to give birth to a baby and raise a child safely.
Start Strong aims to fund a three-year project, beginning later this year, which will aim to strengthen maternal and child healthcare services and the role of women in the community to provide mothers with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to raise children that are healthy, happy, safe and strong.
PHASE, which changes the lives of over 50,000 people in remote areas of Nepal, says women there are “the foundation of family life”, but many struggle to access maternal healthcare and are denied agricultural training and materials that would enable them to provide nutritious food for their children.
Over the past year the Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the lives of vulnerable communities, reduced availability of healthcare services and hindered agricultural production, which has increased preventable deaths.
The appeal has gained support from Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, who said: “As a long-standing champion of women’s rights, I’m delighted to support Rotherham-founded international development charity PHASE Worldwide as they launch their Start Strong UK Aid Match appeal.
“I know through my work in parliament that it is far too often the case that women are denied access to life-saving healthcare or training opportunities that will allow them to flourish and support their family and community.
“PHASE Worldwide’s project is a vital opportunity to support women in Nepal as they build back stronger from the impact of Covid-19 and I encourage the people of Rotherham to give generously to their appeal.”
PHASE Worldwide works to create a positive and sustainable impact for remote communities in Nepal and Mr Cragg added that the charity believes “everyone, everywhere, even those in the most remote places in the world” should have access to primary healthcare, basic education and livelihood opportunities.
* The Start Strong Appeal, which will run until June 25, will focus on three key themes: maternal healthcare, agriculture and nutrition.
* Low funding, weak healthcare structures and operational challenges in remote areas have meant that women receive limited training and support throughout their pregnancy, with almost 50 per cent not receiving antenatal care visits, and 84pc giving birth at home with no health worker present.
* Many do not have access to safe, nutritious food all year round. Food insecurity, caused by challenging farming conditions and unsuitable production methods, is contributing to malnutrition in children. Agricultural activities will increase access to training and materials, and women will be given the opportunity to improve their knowledge and confidence of agricultural production, enabling them to play an active role in providing high-value foods for their families.
* Rates of global acute malnutrition (GAM) above ten per cent are considered as a high concern. The area in which the Start Strong Project is based experiences rates of 19pc. In order to prevent malnutrition in the future, the project will provide training on good nutritional practices to the wider community, allocating training and materials that will allow women to improve food security for their family’s future.
* To find out more about the Start Strong appeal and to donate visit www.phaseworldwide.org or call 0117 916 6423. Go straight to the campaign page at www.phaseworldwide.org/startstrong